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Posted by Edge767 | May 29, 2013 @ 11:26 AM | 4,000 Views
The weather in South East Texas during the spring is usually windy, and this year has been no different. While the early mornings can sometimes yield for some nice flying, those mornings have been few and far in between in 2013. I know, I've heard it a hundred times or more: "A good pilot can fly in anything." No truer words may have been said, however, I would like to add, "But a great pilot knows when the risk outweighs the desire for some more stick time."

Like many of us here, I've got my stories of "I really should have known better" or "As soon as I got the plane off the ground, I knew I'd made a terrible mistake." I've been more fortunate than most, having been able to bring the planes down safely and with very little or no damage. The video evidence available on Youtube will provide one with countless hours of viewing pleasure (or horror depending on your view) of literally thousands of RC pilots who decided to fly in conditions that were too much for their plane and/or their skills.

I'm not a pattern pilot, nor am I capable of the really cool 3D maneuvers that the truly dedicated pilots can perform. I fully appreciate the people who have taught themselves those skills, and I stand in silent awe when I watch these folks fly their machines in ways I can't wrap my head around. Where these folks excel in their ability to perform either the really smooth and graceful patterns or the wild and impossible-looking 3D maneuvers,...Continue Reading
Posted by Edge767 | May 20, 2013 @ 02:13 PM | 2,043 Views
This is going to be a rant. I don't do these often, but this issue has been destroying what could be great threads on the forums, and I feel I have to speak out.

I don't understand why someone feels it's necessary to go into a thread about a new plane or even a thread about a plane that's been released for a while and post derogatory remarks based on brand preference. It boggles my mind. NOT ONCE have I ever thought, "You know, I had a bad experience with Brand X. I should go into a thread where the people who bought, fly, and enjoy that plane are commenting and sharing pictures and experiences and trash the plane, the manufacturer, and by proxy, everyone who flies that plane. What a grand idea."

I struggle trying to find the motivations for persons doing so. Some of the excuses I've seen are:
  • "I've had a bad experience with this brand once, so everything I ever buy from them ever again is going to be suspect."
  • "It's a free country. I'll say what I want."
  • "I say what I feel, good or bad."
  • "Brand X is overpriced compared to Brand Y. You get so much more with Brand Y. Why would anyone ever fly Brand X?"
  • "Nice try, Brand X, but Brand Y is less expensive."

You know what? I don't care. It's just plain rude, and I'm fairly certain that the vast majority of the offenders in this area would never do such a thing in person, yet the relative anonymity of the Internet allows them to fly off the cuff and insult others...Continue Reading
Posted by Edge767 | May 19, 2013 @ 10:15 AM | 2,701 Views
I am going to preface what I have to say by stating that I'm kind of an old timer in the hobby, having been flying for over 34 years. My opinions are shaped by my experiences and by what I've been taught over the years.

So, here goes: I have no problem with my scale aircraft flying with efficient, 2-bladed props. I know that a lot of purists want 100% scale, but I prefer the efficiency and performance versus a scale looking prop. While I'm flying, I can't tell whether it's a two, three, four, or even five bladed prop. While it's in the air, it's doing what I care about most: flying. While it's on the ground, it's pretty to look at, but that's secondary to its performance and appearance in the air.

I've had all sizes of planes, from ultra-micros to big planes, and they all perform better with two-bladed props. Why? It's because of the size of air molecules. The sizes of our planes are small, scaled down versions of the real things while the air molecules that the full-size planes fly through remains the same. That's why the airfoils on our scale planes are different at the smaller sizes. That's why a two-bladed prop out-performs the three, four, and five bladed props at the smaller sizes. The "fluid" our planes are performing in is much different from the "fluid" their full-scale counterparts are flying through.

I have seen people try to argue how the four-blade prop on their plane is "just as efficient" as the two-blade, or worse, how their...Continue Reading
Posted by Edge767 | May 17, 2013 @ 07:16 PM | 6,125 Views
I get asked at the club a lot about my Parkzone warbirds. I have most (if not all) Parkzone warbirds that have been released in the past three years, and I fly them at the club field. In order, here are the Parkzone warbirds that I would recommend.

P-47D This is, without question, the best warbird turned into an RC plane ever. It's almost as if the designers at Republic thought ahead. "When radio controlled aircraft are cheap and easy to produce, this design will be perfect for scale modeling." Indeed, the P-47 hits all the right points for a great RC plane: four-channel primary control (rudder/elevator/ailerons/throttle) as well as two options that complete this "full house" warbird: flaps and retracts. With the optional flaps and retracts, this plane is one of the best performing and easiest to land warbirds I've ever flown. The wide stance of the landing gear make it a dream for ground handling, although if operating from grass, a washer on the aft screws to add a little more forward rake might be necessary to combat nose-overs. Takeoffs and landings with the P-47 are straight forward, and with little practice, ground handling is easy and stable. In flight, the plane is stable, relatively fast, and very well mannered. While not a trainer, I would consider it to be a great tailwheel and aileron trainer for those moving from a Super Cub or T-28. The one down-side would be the silver color which can blend in to overcast skies a bit too well, but on a...Continue Reading
Posted by Edge767 | May 17, 2013 @ 03:12 PM | 7,456 Views
So, I excitedly made my way to the hobby store this afternoon and picked up a new receiver; the Spektrum AS3X AR635. This is a three-axis stabilization receiver, and I'm looking forward to testing it out in a few of my planes. The first plane I will put it into will be my PZ Extra 300. I saw just how awesome this receiver was with the Visionaire that I really want to try it out in the Extra. This spring has been windy here in Texas, and it's been keeping me grounded as the winds have been regularly exceeding my safe flight and comfort threshold. With the AS3X, that should increase the wind I can fly in safely and comfortably.

I have a few AS3X planes, but they are all ultra micros. My Beast 3D actually flies better in big winds than my bigger planes, so I know the system works as advertised. I can't wait to see how it works on the bigger plane!
Posted by Edge767 | Mar 20, 2013 @ 03:14 AM | 2,684 Views
As someone who's been in the hobby for over 34 years, I've seen and heard a lot of crazy things over the years. As someone who's been around the flying field more than a time or two, I know when to disregard someone's advice as BS, but it irks me when self-designated "experts" express their opinions as gospel. It is bad for the hobby, as new members will take the bad advice and could possibly be scared off due to the problems they face.

What are some of the hallmarks of bad advice?

1. "It works for me regardless of what the other 20 people here are saying."
2. "I've flown it this way over 20 times, and not a problem!"
3. "Well, I know what works. 'Nuff said."
4. Calls people names after they disagree.
5. Ignores people after they disagree.
6. Ignores all relevant conversation after the disagreement and continues to state 1-3.
7. Posts endless videos and photos to prove how right they are and how wrong everyone else is.

What specific pieces of bad advice are out there?

1. Use bigger LiPo's without regard for ESC or motor ratings. "I do it all the time, and I've had no problems."
2. Use bigger props on motors/ESC's without matching the amp draw.
3. Making up CoG numbers or positions based off their own experience. "This is where my plane balances. I don't know why yours isn't balancing at this spot."
4. Advise taking off a foam airplane with flaps is safe and okay. "I do this all the time and...Continue Reading
Posted by Edge767 | Feb 15, 2013 @ 04:40 PM | 3,279 Views
I remember when I was first getting back into flying RC planes, I was very careful with my planes and very anal about any ding or bit of damage the planes would take through normal use. Being that all my new planes are foam, they are very easy to dent or mar, and I recall looking on RCG and seeing some planes that just looked plain ratty. I remember thinking to myself, "I won't ever let my planes get that beat up."

Well, best intentions being what they are have left me with a hangar full of planes that have some sort of hangar rash.

The latest casualty is my precious P-47. This plane sits among the other planes in my hangar at the top of the list. It's my most consistent and solid plane. I love everything about it, including it's looks. Imagine my shock and horror when I noticed after a trip to the club field that a huge mar had been pressed into the starboard wing while removing the plane from my car. Apparently, the E-Flite Hurricane's wing was rubbing against the Jug's wing, and now there's a big mark. It's big enough to notice, but in the grand scheme of things, not so bad. As I looked over the rest of the plane, I was shocked to see just how much of the wingtips and even the vertical stabilizer have been gently dented or how they've lost paint. I never noticed. At just over two years old, my poor P-47 is starting to show its age.

My Hurricane, the newest plane of the fleet, recently took on some slight "weathering" when I was forced to do...Continue Reading
Posted by Edge767 | Feb 06, 2013 @ 12:57 PM | 2,669 Views
Lots has gone on around here in the few months since I've posted last.

First and foremost, my lovely wife was the best Santa this past year and brought me something I've wanted for a long time; an E-Flite Hurricane!

Here she is as she sits on one of the tables at our club's flying field next to my Parkzone SPitfire. I brought out two of my Brits on the day I took this photo. The Hurricane is a great flying plane with amazing quality. The landings definitely keep you on your toes, but it's well worth it. I feel this plane is not only a lot of fun, but is making me a much better pilot. I like the larger size and the heavier weight. I may need more planes in this size/class.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Edge767 | Nov 23, 2012 @ 03:55 PM | 2,823 Views
It's been a while, but I have received both new planes I've been waiting for: the Parkzone Corsair F4U-1A Retract-Ready and the Parkzone UM Spitfire with AS3X. Between the two, my overwhelming favorite is the Corsair.

The Spitfire is nice for flying in front of the house and the AS3X makes it more stable, but it just doesn't handle nearly as well as the Beast does. The Best is truly an aerobatic plane whereas the Spitfire flies a bit more sluggishly. I think it flies like a much larger plane, which is good for keeping up practice when I can't make it to the field, but it is prone to tip stalling and requires a good amount of speed to keep it in the air.

The Corsair, on the other hand, is an absolute dream to fly. Since I'm quite proficient with the PZ P-47D and the PZ Spitfire, controlling this new PZ warbird proved to be no different. It has good power with the 15 sized motor and it maneuvers well. I installed the optional retracts and flaps, and together, they complete a very well designed RC airplane. Landing it is very pleasant, and I got some of the best greaser landings I've ever made recently with the Corsair. I have to say that the Corsair now ties the P-47D as being at the top of the hangar with the Spitfire a very close second (only because I can't get it to not nose-over EVER).

A picture of the Corsair at the field. The landing gear doors that normally are on the strut are off because I lost one of them on the maiden. I am currently in the process of fabricating a new door to replace the lost one and will post new pictures soon.
Posted by Edge767 | Aug 08, 2012 @ 06:40 PM | 2,959 Views
Well, as the title says, I'm starting instructing. I've been working with various kids who are all members of a local JROTC program, and I helped them with flying indoors on my Night Vapor, but now I'm moving into the big blue with teaching people to fly outdoors. Fortunately, I've got a few years of flying under my belt and even close to 100 hours on full-scale planes, so hopefully I can impart some wisdom and learn 'em something!

I look forward to the challenges and the opportunity to share this great hobby with some new future pilots!

As for new planes, I am eagerly awaiting the new PZ F4U-1A Corsair and the UM Spitfire with AS3X. I'm also contemplating a bigger plane, the E-Flite P-51B. I'm not sure if I'll go with one that a club member has already put together and ready to go, or if I'd go with one from scratch, but either way, it's been very tempting. It'd be nice to have a bigger plane, as the field I fly from is better suited (right now) for bigger planes (due to the grass field).

Here is the hangar update:

PZ F4U-5N: Needs work on the vertical stabilizer and starboard landing gear (the hole in the plywood opened up a bit; need to fill it with something to firm the gear back up).
PZ Extra 300: Clear for flight ops after a nasty crash due to horizontal stab tape letting go and causing the plane to lose all elevator authority.
Rest of the fleet: Clear for flight ops.
Posted by Edge767 | Jul 02, 2012 @ 11:18 AM | 3,518 Views
I went ahead and ordered three sets of retracts from Hobby King. Why? Because I have some older planes that I'd like to put retracts on: my F4U-5N Corsair and the Bf109G. Both of these planes fly well, but would fly better without wheels. While I do have a belly lander, I prefer using gear for takeoffs and landings. I love touch and goes, and you can't do those without gear (well, not safely, at least!).

I will have to do some engineering and modifications to the planes to be able to get the retracts into them, but I look forward to the challenge. I look forward to flying the planes "clean" and being able to pull out the gear for landing when it's time. Both planes also had flaps modified onto them, so I'll be reinforcing the wings with CF when I put the gear wells in. The last thing I need is to weaken the wing and have it break under load.

I love this hobby more and more. It's stuff like this that keeps me going!
Posted by Edge767 | Apr 25, 2012 @ 04:31 PM | 4,138 Views
I can't believe I didn't post this here!

A while back, I added flaps to my Parkzone Spitfire. It has really made the plane a lot easier to land.

NOTE: I don't recommend taking off with flaps on ANY PZ plane because at their size, they really don't need it and you put yourself into a position of the plane lifting off before it's really ready and getting into a stall/tip-stall situation. Flaps on PZ planes should only be used while landing.

With that said, I will say that this mod was pretty easy to do. The hardest part is the first cut. Once you're through that, the rest is easy.

I didn't take any photos while I installed the flaps, but here's a video I made during the process:

Parkzone Spitfire Mk IX Flaps Mod (8 min 37 sec)

And some photos.

Posted by Edge767 | Apr 04, 2012 @ 04:29 PM | 3,365 Views
Today, I decided to get a little flight in during a lull in the wind and storms we've been having here in Texas. I took out the Corsair for a few minutes and this time tried to get some video. Of course, the little keychain cam is not the best for this type of video, and worse, I didn't have it aligned properly on my hat. I did get a few frames here and there of my plane, and since the resolution was kind of low and the contrast kind of high due to the overcast sky, I decided to have a little fun with it.

I have photos of my P-47 and my Spitfire antiqued, so I figured it was high time the Corsair had it's period photo. Here is the result:

I'll try to get some good video and perhaps even some photos soon. This is such a fun hobby with so many different ways to get enjoyment out of it!
Posted by Edge767 | Mar 27, 2012 @ 04:27 PM | 3,301 Views
Well, after a few days of pondering, I was able to fix the cowl, the motor, and get some retouching done on the paint. Here's the result:

I still have a bit more work to do to refinish the radome on the starboard wing, but otherwise, it's looking a lot better now, and I think she should be ready to fly again as soon as the weather calms down a bit here in Texas.

I have to remember that with the extra weight of the hardware, extra servos, and even the layers of paint that keep going on, the Corsair takes a little more speed to keep in the air, and I have to keep the speed up a bit more than normal if I'm landing flaps-up (like I was trying on Saturday). Flaps down the Corsair lands slow as a snail (a flying snail? lol), but flaps-up, she carries a bit more speed now.

I am looking forward to getting her back in the air again. She's sort of the elder statesman of the hangar and my go-to plane for relaxing and stress-free flying.
Posted by Edge767 | Mar 26, 2012 @ 12:22 PM | 3,459 Views
Someone once asked me if I have ever flown real planes to which I replied that I have (PPL). They asked me if it was easier to fly RC planes than real planes, to which I replied that RC planes were harder to fly. Aside from their smaller size making them more vulnerable to air currents, thermals, turbulence, and wind, being inside a plane allows you to see and importantly to feel changes whereas when flying RC planes, you are relying only on sight. Controlling from inside allows a much better visual vantage point than externally, ironically. One would think seeing the plane from outside makes it easier to land; such is not the case. Of course, as RC pilots, we know this, right?

If you are flying RC planes, at some point, you are crashing RC planes. At some point, the crashing becomes fewer and farther in between, but it still happens if you let your guard down.

My beloved Corsair is the victim of my allowing the plane to get too slow while attempting to land in slightly gusting winds. The plane is a bit heavier now with the flap mod I did and I didn't account for it. She literally fell out of the sky while I was doing a flaps-up touch and go. I didn't get any pictures at the field (others were in the air and I had to clear the carnage ASAP), but here's what she looked like at home.

Damage done: crack in wing at root, broken cowl, separated motor, faux gear door cover broken off. I think I got off light, but the speed was rather low and altitude was only about a foot...Continue Reading
Posted by Edge767 | Mar 15, 2012 @ 04:08 AM | 4,045 Views
I made a few videos over the past few months, and I recently posted them to YouTube. I thought it'd be nice to have them here with my flying blog.

The first video is probably the most boring of the three. Why put it first? Who knows. Anyway, it's video taken on-board my Hobbyzone Super Cub. It's a bit shaky due to the brushed mother and gearbox, but otherwise it's pretty decent video taken by a keychain cam fixed to the bottom of the plane between the wheels. The landing looks much rougher than it was due to the proximity of the ground to the camera. Otherwise, I commend anyone who can make their way to the end of the video.

Hobbyzone Super Cub On-Board Camera (7 min 12 sec)

The next video was taken by my friend Kenny last year around September. It was a relatively nice day with few clouds and light winds. Kenny had a new video camera he was itching to use, and I provided a moving subject for him to film. I edited out the really shaky parts, but what remains is a nice, albeit short video of my Parkzone P-47D with custom graphics.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Edge767 | Feb 05, 2012 @ 12:45 AM | 3,678 Views
As I was running out of room in the house to store my planes, my wife told me I needed to come up with a plan to get the planes out of the guest room, dining room, and our bedroom floor. I told her about mounting them on the wall and she said it was a great idea.

Today, we went out and bought the parts and she helped me put the planes up on the wall. I think it came out nice.

I still have room for about another 4 planes beneath the current setup (which is a good thing since I now have plans for more!!!).
Posted by Edge767 | Jan 22, 2012 @ 11:15 PM | 4,088 Views
It's been almost a month now, but I'm getting a better handle on flying the mSR X. The biggest issue for me was the left-hand turns (turns to port) and I'm finally able to do them. I'm not anywhere near an expert yet, but at least I can fly the mSR X around the house and go left AND right with some degree of accuracy.

mSR X Flying After One Month (3 min 21 sec)

I also got a mCPx so that when I get better with the mSR X, I can move to possibly some 3D flying. For now, I practice hovers with the mCPx and I practice everything else on the mSR X. It's been very windy in Texas, the the mCPx can really tear things apart indoors, so I'm hesitant to do more than hovers right now with it indoors.

My warbirds all sit in my bedroom waiting for some nice weather to fly them all. In the meantime, the helis are keeping me company and allowing me to fly regularly. I'm having a blast!
Posted by Edge767 | Jan 14, 2012 @ 01:28 AM | 4,368 Views
I haven't mentioned it much here on RCG, but I received a Blade mSR X helicopter for Christmas from my wife, and I've been having a lot of fun flying it for around 30 minutes a day or so.

Here are some progress videos I've made so far.

Week 1

MSRX Flying After One Week (5 min 48 sec)

Week 3

...Continue Reading
Posted by Edge767 | Jan 08, 2012 @ 04:49 AM | 3,800 Views
Two out of the three planes I flew today were stellar. The third one just disappointed me. What's strange is that it's a plane that used to thrill me to no end: the Spitfire.

I changed radios from the DX6i to the DX8, and I think I didn't program in some expo or mixing or something, because now the Spitfire seems twitchy. I can fix that, but I'll have to do some experimenting. As for landings... well, even on concrete, I'm getting nose-overs. Turns out the landing gear is not only tracking to the left, but is rather toe-out and causes the plane to decelerate so quickly on landings that it noses over.

I will work on the plane tomorrow to fix the landing gear issues, and I'll work with the mixing/expo. The weather is supposed to be rainy tomorrow here in Houston, so I probably won't be able to do any taxi tests or flying, but at least I'll program in some expo to start with so I'll be ready for next time.

As for the Corsair and the P-47, they both flew as beautifully as always. I can't say enough good things about those planes. I really put the Corsair through its paces today; more so than I normally do considering the heavy repairs the wing has had. I'll perform a detailed inspection of the repaired areas tomorrow, but as far as I could tell, the plane did great and held up wonderfully.

The Jug is still my favorite. The flaps and retracts are just icing on the cake. The Jug flies so well, it's a joy to bring out every time. It's no wonder it's quickly getting to be my most-flown plane next to the Corsair.

While the Corsair recently reached it's 100 flights milestone, the Jug is catching up at 68.